Irish Champions Weekend 2019 Tips, Odds & Analysis
Quick Tips (Odds were advised on 11/09/2019):
- Back Magna Grecia each way to win the Irish Champions Stakes at 14/1 with Coral
- Back Iridessa each way to win the Matron Stakes at 9/1 with BetHard
- Back Kew Gardens to win the Irish St Leger at 3/1 with Unibet
Around 35 minutes after the winner of the St. Leger crosses the winning line at Doncaster, the first of six, yes six, Group 1 contests get underway on what looks set to be another memorable Longines Irish Champions weekend.
This unique two-day extravaganza of horse racing betting is split between Leopardstown on Saturday and The Curragh on Sunday, with over €4m in prize money on offer.
The blue-riband event is undoubtedly Saturday’s Irish Champion Stakes, which threw up a crackerjack finish 12 months ago with Roaring Lion eventually getting the better of Saxon Warrior.
Aidan O’Brien looks set to unleash one of his biggest ever squads at this meeting and Magical, a strong favourite with the best horse racing sites, could easily get the Ballydoyle maestro off to the perfect start in the Champion Stakes.
So, with so much top-class action to savour, you are going to want to have a bet, aren’t you? Here is our guide to the big-race action.
Irish Champion Stakes – 1m2f (Saturday, 16.15)
Regarded as one of the most prestigious ten-furlong contests run anywhere in the world, this is a race that attracts top-class overseas raiders, so much so that the last time the Irish Champion Stakes prize stayed in Ireland was back in 2011.
The pick of the English challengers looks to be Elarqam, the Juddmonte International third who has been supplemented at a cost of €75,000. The Mark Johnston-trained colt is rated just 2lb inferior to the market leader Magical, who is a 7/4 shot with 888Sport so is clearly right in the mix, but a note of caution: he was well below par on his only previous trip overseas, last year’s Irish 2,000 Guineas.
So who can stop proven top-level performer Magical? Well, the answer may just come from within the favourite’s own stable.
Magna Grecia is a bit of a forgotten horse having not been seen since disappointing in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, but that was a strange race and there is enough in his pedigree to suggest he could easily produce his best over this new trip.
It is obviously a concern that he hasn’t been seen since May, but if he bounces back to the level of form he showed when winning the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket he could easily prove the biggest threat to Magical. At 14/1 with Coral he looks well worth an investment.
Matron Stakes – 1m (Saturday, 17.25)
Three-year-olds have won this race 17 times in the last 25 years, which is a compelling number, so I’m going to take on the admirable Laurens (reluctantly), especially as Karl Burke’s mare faces competition for the lead here.
If this does turn into a burn up, it could work out perfectly for Iridessa who is a Group 1 winner over ten furlongs. It’s easy enough to excuse her disappointing effort in the Irish Oaks given it has been almost impossible to come from off the pace at The Curragh this season, and a strongly-run mile on a galloping track like this is going to see her in a much better light.
She’s got the class, could get the race run to suit and is a decent price (9/1 with BetHard), so what’s not to like?
Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes – 5f (Sunday, 14.25)
This is always one of the hottest sprints of the season and English-trained runners have a cracking record, winning six of the last ten runnings.
If Mabs Cross is anywhere near her best she wins, but it is worrying that she wasn’t able to show peak form when turned over in this last year, and she didn’t exactly set the world alight at York last time, so she is hardly the safest conveyance.
Soldier’s Call, in front of Mabs Cross when second to Battaash in the Nunthorpe, was left for dead by Soffia in a Group 2 here in July and Edward Lynam’s thriving filly looks the one to beat.
She is, though, a 2/1 market leader with Bet365 and could easily go off shorter on the day, so I’ll give this race a swerve from a betting point of view.
Moyglare Stud Stakes – 7f (Sunday, 15.00)
Most of the best 2yo fillies in Ireland are likely to turn up for this gig, but the standout candidate is Albigna, a 9/4 shot with Redzone, who absolutely flew home to win a Group 2 over 6f here on her second start and she will surely prove even better over this extra furlong (she is bred to get a mile).
Favourites don’t have a brilliant record in this race (only three of the last ten have obliged, and one of those was odds-on), but Albigna looks set to improve that record.
Vincent O'Brien National Stakes – 7f (Sunday, 15.35)
Connections of Siskin appear to have run scared of taking on Pinatubo, who looks the best 2yo colt around this season.
A maiden Group 1 success looks on the cards for the unbeaten Godolphin colt, if the betting is to be believed, but he’ll need to be at the top of his game if he is to see off the improving Armory who looks worth a small play at 3/1 with Betway.
Aidan O’Brien’s upwardly mobile colt won only an average renewal of the Futurity Stakes over this C&D, but his powerful connections have won that race with high-class colts Anthony Van Dyck, Gleneagles and Giant's Causeway, and Armory won’t need to improve too much more to give the hot favourite a real fright.
Irish St. Leger – 1m6f (Sunday, 16.10)
The feature contest of the day and a mouth-watering clash between last year’s St. Leger winner Kew Gardens and Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter.
Only 1lb separates the pair on official ratings but Kew Gardens has been kept fresh for this since his narrow defeat in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, and that might just sway things against a rival that has been knocking his head against a wall trying to get the better of Stradivarius this summer.
Of the three-year-old's, Buckhurst looks a fascinating contender on his first try at anything like this sort of trip. He won a Group 3 contest here last time and, in receipt of 9lb from the older horses, has leading claims on the numbers, but will he stay, and well enough to beat two of the best stayers in training? Unlikely.
The aforementioned Kew Gardens, a 3/1 shot with Unibet looks the bet here.
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